Saturday, January 18, 2014

"So many plants, so little space", Bob Brown at the AGM 2013

Written by Miss Caroline Stone
Bob Brown (on the right) with Malcolm Pharoah Bob Brown (on the right) with Malcolm Pharoah

At the AGM, Bob Brown, the owner of Cotswolds Garden Flowers near Evesham in Worcestershire spoke on "So many plants: so little space".

Bob Brown is a nurseryman who knows his clientbase – as he told us impulse buys are very good for a nurseryman's cashflow - and he was speaking to an audience who know their plants. Even so he entertained us with a number of suggestions for plants to include in our gardens. Ciaphora lateritum to teach children respect for plants – it stings! Helicodiceros muscivorus – just to enjoy saying the name, a lovely looking plant with a stench like a rotting sheep's carcass. But this was from a man who grows thirteen varieties of dandelion. He also enjoys the autumn-flowering narcissus viridiflora, a curious delicate green flower that smells of pongy feet. Despite a propensity to go plant hunting world-wide he reminded us that good plants can be found in unexpected places, like peltaria aliacia or garlic cress which he came upon in Hull; it has good winter foliage and can be used as a substitute for either garlic or cress. He noted that black-flowered plants sell well although they don't show up in the garden. The fashion for dark or apparently dead plants obviously amuses Bob: verbascum luridum, knipholia typhoides, carmichalia glabrate, and pseudopanax ferox all got a mention. But Bob gets good business from nerdy clients who like unusual plants!


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